As part of the Stump Ian series, Tom asks:
“What are the most promising new technologies for user-generated content and conversation on niche e-commerce sites? I’m considering, blogs, reviews, gift registries, wish lists as old hat.”
Technology: Mobile is Growing (slowly)
Tom, the technology I’m most excited about is mobile. At Portent we’ve experimented a bit with techniques that blend display advertising and user-generated content, like this:
- Create a simple poll, or ask a question that requires a brief answer.
- Put it into a display ad you show on a bus, in a subway, or just a T-Shirt ala Reactee.
- Use a gateway, so that answers sent via SMS text message are automatically added to the web site, or at least queued up for review and publication.
- As folks see the question, they text in an answer, and it shows up on the site.
- You can add interactivity, too: Have the system text the user back when their question’s been published, for example. Then they can visit the site via cell phone or computer and see their handiwork.
I love this technique. It shows huge promise. While text messaging is hardly mainstream, it accesses a really specific audience.
Technique: Amazon Mechanical Turk
If you haven’t learned about Amazon Mechanical Turk yet, you must. You can get literally hundreds of people to contribute content. Here’s how:
- Set up a Mechanical Turk requestor account.
- Post a question like ‘Write one thing you want to do before you’re 40’. You’ll need to pay folks anywhere from $.01 to $.25 for their answers.
- Watch great answers roll in.
A few Mechanical Turk pointers:
Make sure your question takes only a moment to answer.
Don’t cheat! Don’t use Mechanical Turk to get folks to Digg a story, for example.
Review and approve answers promptly.
Great question, Tom. Let me know if this helps.